Children with attachment problems show problematic patterns of developmentally improper moods, social behaviors, and relationships. Often, attachment problems are the result of uncertain and unstable relationships to their parents or primary caregivers in early childhood. Inappropriate reactions to a child’s distress, lack of affection, lack of caregivers, and abuse are traumatic experiences for children and may affect the development of healthy relationships throughout their life course.


Inhibited, emotionally withdrawn behavior towards caregivers

  • The child rarely or minimally seeks comfort when distressed.
  • The child rarely or minimally responds to comfort when distressed.


Social and emotional problems

  • The child does not smile back or reacts when interacting with adults.
  • The child shows no affection for his or her parents.
  • The child is irritable, sad, or afraid, even in situations, where caregivers are present and no danger or threat exists.


Disinhibited social engagement

  • The child is overly friendly to unknown children or adults.
  • The child shows inappropriately physical or verbal behavior towards others. For example, hugs strangers.
  • The child shows a lack of distrust against strangers. For example, the child willingly approaches a complete stranger to be picked up, for comfort, or to receive a toy.



  • Following a predictable and consistent everyday life routine can help the child to feel reassured and to create a safe environment.
  • Show your child that you love them.
  • Praise your child regularly.
  • Tell your child when you leave and at what time you are going to come back. Be sure to adhere to the times.